Exactly a year ago, at 5.15 am someone called me. I just can’t remember who it was.
‘Papa gele,’ that voice announced. My papa. My grandfather was gone. Less than ten hours ago the doctors had predicted it. But I believed in miracles. You taught me to, Papa. And I believed you’d make this your one last miracle.
I stood by your bedside. I recited the ramaraksha hoping to stumble and mispronounce so that you’d wake up to tell me how to say it right.
That phone call was a full stop to a part of my childhood that only came alive in your company.
There will no longer be those hugs that wrinkled up your silk shirt and filled my lungs with your signature sandalwood smell. By the way, still get that scent when I peek into your room occasionally but day by day it’s getting milder and milder.
I can’t hold on to that scent just as I can’t hold on to you. But I know you’re watching over me. I know that you’re listening carefully to how the stotra is being pronounced when I pray in the mornings. And I know that when me and Nani speak English amongst ourselves, you’re shaking your head, hoping we’ll switch to Marathi.
I know you’re around, but its so damn hard to live without those hugs. We miss you Papa. Asa Ajoba Kharach Milnaar Nahi…